All the fun of the fair


May 13, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Destination Guide,Upcoming Events


Appleby is one of the loveliest towns in the North of England. Once the county town of old Westmorland, it lies in a loop of the river Eden and is overlooked by the Pennine fells. Appleby’s uncommonly wide main street, Boroughgate, has been described as one of the finest in England. It runs from the church uphill to the castle entrance and is lined with some interesting old buildings – look out for the road sign warning of red squirrels as you reach the top! Appleby is also a major stop on the Settle to Carlisle Railway. It is well worth taking a trip on the railway which passes through some of the finest scenery in the North of England, especially if heading south towards Settle.

Cumbrian Cottages have nearly a dozen cottages in the Eden Valley still available during the Appleby Horse Fair. Hoseasons have a few cottages just a few miles from Appleby: Pennine View, Orchard View and Mini Murton House. Cottages4You and Sykes Cottages both have just the one cottage remaining.

This normally sleepy town hosts the famous Horse Fair in early June (in 2013 it is from the 6th to the 12th), where Gypsies and travellers gather from all over the country to meet up with old friends. The 300-year-old event is an annual occasion where they celebrate their music, history and folklore and conduct business – particularly the buying and selling of horses. During the Fair, horses may be found everywhere – in the river, on its banks, along the roadsides or tethered outside hotels and shops. Young people wash the horses in the River Eden and are then ready to show them off. The tradition of racing and trotting the horses along Flashing Lane takes place throughout the day. There is a lively atmosphere with over 10,000 gypsies and travellers in attendance and up to 30,000 other visitors soaking up the atmosphere of the Fair, with Sunday being the traditional main visitors’ day. It transforms the town of Appleby for the week, from a sedate, elegant town into an animated and boisterous festival.

My pick of Appleby Horse Fair accommodation

Appleby Horse Fair accommodation

Set amid an old apple orchard just five miles from Appleby, this holiday home retains the character and charm of the original 17th century Westmorland bank barn. It has a wood burning stove, internet access and boasts spectacular views of the Pennines and Eden Valley across the paddock. The village pub serves real ale and meals in front of a crackling fire. Click here to view details.